Sunny Sharma, James Furlong, Valerie Case (instructor), Kieran Roche, James Walsh
Ballinakill Outdoor Swimming pool reopened last summer after a huge effort.
A group of local volunteers worked for months clearing mud and debris, scrubbing, painting, patching and fundraising to make sure the valued and popular but missed facility would once again be an outlet for the community.
All the hard work came to fruition on July 12 when the pool re-opened with a BBQ party.
It was a huge boost to the local area.
Professional lifeguards were hired and the pool was run on a shoestring budget.
Everything else that needed to be done was done by a dedicated panel of volunteers.
Summer 2019's weather was very unpredictable. On sunnier days the outdoor pool was very busy; it became clear that a backup panel of lifeguards would be useful.
The organisers felt they needed people who would be happy to help out when needed, didn't mind going home if it rained and who definitely didn't need a wage.
Enter 'The Daddy Lifeguards'. Five local men who qualified as pool lifeguards recently. They were trained by pool lifeguard provider - Valerie Case through Water Safety Ireland Laois.
On October 31 it was announced that Ballinakill Outdoor Swimming Pool has qualified for a grant of €100,000 under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme to heat and revitalise the pool.
The funding will go toward an air to water heating system and new covers for the pool.
The 2020 summer opening date will depend on the progression of the upgrade work but the committee are aiming to be operational early in the summer than 2019 and for longer.
'The Daddy Lifeguards' are particularly buoyed by this fantastic news and are looking forward to a busy summer poolside in 2020.
The swimming pool committee was honoured for its trojan efforts in 2019 with a certificate of achievement award at the annual Community and Voluntary Awards hosted by Laois County Council.
James Furlong was nominated in the Unsung Hero category at the awards.